The Ugandan Water Project started learning about Bitcoin and virtual currency several years ago and early on opened a wallet to facilitate any donation inquiries and even purchased a little Ethereum as part of our long-term savings. In recent months, UWP has turned more of our focus on creating space for the cryptocurrency community within our UWP Tribe and investing more time and energy into bringing our voice into the larger conversation about what role crypto-charity can play in advancing our mission for clean water as well as other ways this new part of our global society is uniquely positioned to impact the world for good.
Donating cryptocurrency has some makes sense for users of this new currency. Why donate your BAT, Litecoin, Bitcoin, or the rest directly?
- Tax Efficiency – similar to appreciating stock donations, directly donating cryptocurrency eliminates capital gains and allows the full value to reach the organization – especially helpful for HODLers
- Quick, Easy, & Convenient – donating crypto is easier than punching in a credit card if the organization is using a donation widget like this one
- Drives the Growth of Blockchain – more on this in a moment but blockchain has potential to impact those trapped in poverty in a significant way and using cryptocurrency cultivates growth for this technology
On the receiving side, there are fantastic reasons for organizations like ours to accept crypto contributions:
- Simplicity– crypto is significantly easier & faster to accept than stock donations
- Market Size – with 70,000,000 users and growing, accepting crypto truly is an invitation to connect with a COMMUNITY
- Young Donors – 35% of Millennials bought crypto in 2019; we need to adapt and grow with the next generation of social-minded stakeholders
Obviously, donations to charities helps advance the mission of those charities – in the case of the Ugandan Water Project, donations of cryptocurrency help our staff bring safe water to schools, clinics, and communities across Uganda. Beyond the obvious value and impact in the donation, promoting and normalizing the use of blockchain-based tools like Bitcoin bring other applications of blockchain closer to those who desperately need it.
One way that this technology could impact poor families in developing nations is by reducing the high cost of centralized banking. In Uganda, conventional banks charge fees for almost every activity on an account except deposits and these fees add a high cost for the under-resourced that often limits them from fully participating in banking. Some governments hold their citizens in a form of economic imprisonment by not allowing the international transfer of funds or taking hard currency out of the country. Cryptocurrency’s ability to operate independent of government and transaction costs that are minute fractions of the fees related to centralized banking open the opportunity for those currently “too poor” to bank to have the economic security and access they need.
When the Ugandan Water Project sent staff to Nepal after the 2015 earthquake to distribute water filters in remote communities, our team on the ground encountered organizations who were gridlocked because their funding was held up by the Nepali government who was laying claim to all donations as a matter of national interest. Cryptocurrency is well suited for emergency relief and other assistance where time and efficiency are critical to delivering help.
Another common tragedy impacting the poor where we work in Uganda, is the theft of land through the legal system. Because the system of land titles is archaic and susceptable to fraud, it is common to hear stories of local residents whose land is sold out from under them and when they seek help from the legal system, the fraudulent seller and the new buyer are able to bribe their way to victory. However, we see a future coming soon where land titles are protected by blockchain which provides tremendous power of ownership regardless of status measured by any other means. If the meager assets of the poor were protected by the fortress of a blockchain title then they would be less vulnerable to predatory action and more likely to break free from poverty.
The short-term impact of funding safe and sustainably managed water projects with cryptocurrency is an exciting opportunity for the Ugandan Water Project. However, it is the longer horizon that we are inspired by – inviting a community of forward-thinking people to bear on the biggest problems faced by humankind and leveraging technology to provide tools and covering for those most vulnerable among us.
Have you ever made a cryptocurrency donation? We invite you to write a new future with the Ugandan Water Project by donating now using our secure widget, here.